The 7 Best Xiaomi Phones to Buy in 2018

What's the biggest phone maker you've never heard of? For most people outside China and India, the answer is Xiaomi. It's now the fifth-largest manufacturer of smartphones on the planet, but is rarely heard of outside its two main markets.

Its reputation for turning out attractive, well-performing phones at low prices hasn't gone unnoticed, though, and the company's devices are starting to show up in a few European countries, and through importers, in the United States as well.

If you're in the market for a great smartphone that's hundreds of dollars less than the equivalent Apple or Samsung ​device, and are happy to jump through a few hoops to get your hands on one, these are the best Xiaomi phones you can buy right now.

Best for Big-Screen Value: Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

Want an attractive phone with a large display and good performance for under two hundred dollars? The Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus is it.

There's dual SIM and microSD card support, a headphone jack, and fast charging. The big 6" screen is the most noticeable thing about this phone, but the thin side bezels mean it is still (just) usable with one hand.

As well as making it great for watching videos, that extra size means there's more space available for a battery: in this case, a big 4000mAh version. That translates to up to two days between charges in normal use, and at least a full day even when you're pushing the phone hard.

Available with either 3GB RAM/32GB ​storage, or 4GB/64GB, a range of color options including attractive blue and pink variations help it stand out in a crowded market.​

Best for High-End Performance: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

If you're looking for a super-fast, premium smartphone that doesn't cost the better part of a thousand dollars, ​then put the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S on your shortlist.

It's a striking device, made from ceramic materials that feel fantastic in the hand. There are minimal side and top bezels, and the six-inch screen has the 18:9 ratio that's become popular among high-end phone makers.

Inside, there's a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845, 6 or 8GB of RAM, and 64/128/256GB of storage. No matter which version you get, this phone absolutely flies.

There's a 3400mAh battery that'll get you through a full day, and both QuickCharge 3.0 and Qi wireless charging for adding more juice afterwards. The Mix 2S supports dual SIMs, but not microSD cards, and there's no waterproofing.

The best aspect of this phone, however, is the amount of money left in your bank account after buying it, since it retails for around the equivalent of $500. 

Best for Performance on a Budget: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

While it has technically been superseded by the Mix 2S, the Mi Mix 2 still offers exceptional performance, at an unbeatable price.

There aren't many differences between the two—a slightly slower processor, single camera, and bezels a few fractions of an inch wider—but you'll still get a phone that looks great and outperforms almost everything else on the market for under four hundred bucks. 

With a six-inch screen, at least 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, plus dual SIMs, microSD support and that same lovely ceramic material as its newer sibling, it's a phone that won't disappoint.

The only downsides are the lack of a headphone jack or waterproofing. If you can live without those and want a premium phone at a mid-range price, you've found it here.

Best All-Rounder: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

It's rare to find a phone under $500 that ticks as many boxes as the Redmi Note 5. When you consider that it sells for under half that, it's a truly remarkable device.

Also known as the Note 5 Pro in India, it's available in several configurations. With 3-6GB of RAM, and 32/64GB storage, in four different colors, Xiaomi is covering its bases well.

Regardless of which version you pick, the Snapdragon 636 processor delivers impressive performance, and the vibrant six-inch display looks good both indoors and out.

While the company made the odd decision to use an older, slower micro-USB port for charging instead of USB-C, it made up for it by including a 4000mAh battery that easily lasts a day and a half.

The camera takes excellent shots in daylight, and even low-light photos look pretty good, which is highly unusual in this price range. Take all the above together, and you've got an easy pick for our top all-round Xiaomi phone.

Best for Regular Updates: Xiaomi Mi A1

A criticism leveled at many low-cost Android phones is the amount of unnecessary software they come with, and the lack of regular updates after release. Google's Android One program changes that, promising stock Android and consistent updates for at least two years, and the Mi A1 marks Xiaomi's entry into that market.

It's an attractive phone, with solid mid-range specifications at a budget price. There's 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, fast charging, dual SIM and microSD card support, and dual cameras with 2x optical zoom that takes reasonable photos, at least in good lighting. Most people should get a full day between charges, and there's even a headphone jack.

Sure, there's no waterproofing or wireless charging, but given the low price, they are excusable omissions in an excellent phone that will stay secure and up to date for as long as you're likely to own it.

Best Budget: Xiaomi Redmi 5A

Broke your old phone and have very little to spend on a new one? The Xiaomi Redmi 5A is just what you need. With the base version retailing for under the equivalent of $100, the phone still includes all the basic features you need in a smartphone.

Available in three configurations — 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, 3GB/32GB or 4GB/64GB — the 5A is a solidly-built, if unremarkable, device that resembles an iPhone SE in size and appearance.

The five-inch LCD display is bright and colorful, even in direct sunlight. That small screen helps the 3000mAh battery keep the phone going for an entire day, and while you're not getting the fastest processor at this price, the Redmi 5A still performs standard tasks like Web browsing and navigation well.

With a headphone jack and support for two SIMs or a microSD card for extra storage, you're even getting features that aren't available in some phones costing 10x as much. Given the price, there's a lot to like about the Xiaomi Redmi 5A.

Best for Imitating an iPhone X: Xiaomi Mi 8

Xiaomi has often released phones that look very similar to Apple's latest models, and the Mi 8 is no exception. It closely resembles the iPhone X down to the "notch" at the top and the vertical dual camera setup at the back, but is an excellent phone in its own right.

The camera gained higher quality scores in independent tests than any other smartphone, and with specs like a Snapdragon 845 chipset and either 6GB RAM/64GB storage or 8GB/128GB, performance is about as good as it gets.

While the front of the Mi 8 may look a lot like an iPhone, the rear couldn't be more different, at least if you buy the special Explorer version. The top section is made from transparent glass, showing off the internal components behind it. It's a unique and surprisingly stylish design.

Disclosure

At Lifewire, our Expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.